Local politician Guy Burns says the KCDC scores only 4.5 out of 10 on performance this past year — and improvementsare needed urgently.
In the key area of improving local democracy, the Kapiti Coast Council has failed , says Mr Burns, deputy chair of the Raumati Paraparaumu Community Board.
“Elected members, including myself, have been told to leave some Council briefings. Public excluded sessions still play a part in KCDC meetings. The Council website is virtually unsearchable and easy internet access to Council documents is impossible,” he says.
OPENNESS, TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY—4 out of 10
An open, transparent and accountable style of government was the election mantra of a local guru—Mayor Gurunathan. Has Kapiti Coast District Council delivered these promised
goods? No; our Council has scored very badly — 4 out of 10 on openness, transparency and accountability.
Mr Burn=s does say that compared to past Councils, the current mix of Mayor and Councillors are a better team, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
FINANCIALLY—6 out of 10
Elected representatives have virtually halted the previous pattern of big-ticket, high-cost schemes. Finance is more tightly controlled—staff are finding it harder to introduce new, think-big schemes. A green-line limit tightly controls spending; which needed to happen with Kapiti sitting around the fourth highest debted Council in NZ.
On the negative side, elected representatives created the so-called Resilience Fund and Kapiti Growth Fund. These two schemes will borrow millions to invest in ‘growth’ funds.
Using loans to make risky financial investments is well outside of the scope of core services that ratepayers expect.
Even the Auditor-General, Greg Schollum, calls the loans-for-investment plan ‘unusual’. We hope it is not too late to scrap these two ill-thought arrangements. Too much money is being spent on consultants. The price for these is millions every year and rising. Kapiti Coast District Council needs to get back to core services and make the minimum use of outside consultants.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT—2 out of 10
Councils around NZ think it’s their role to foster economic development and Kapiti Coast District Council is no exception.
This year Council introduced a commercial targeted rate in the guise of economic development. Hitting business with increased costs is a no-brainer for economic development—the opposite should occur: reduced costs, minimal regulations and less bureaucracy.
KCDC should stick to providing basic services. Leave economic development to businesses; Council does not have the skills and expertise for such activity and millions of ratepayers money have been squandered.
For example: the scandalous Clean Tech Trust loan which cleaned up over $2 million of ratepayer’s money.
CORE SERVICES—7 out of 10
Overall, Kapiti Coast District Council scores well in the provision of core services. Kapiti Coast District Council’s front counter works well and scores highly with most ratepayers. ‘Dig a little deeper and ratepayers are well served.’
There have been a few glitches with roading, but district-wide roads are well maintained and work well.
Kapiti Road is chockablock and best avoided during peak times. Rubbish collection is a bone of contention for some people, but the system is cost-effective and accepted by most.
Water quality is high and water-meters have become the norm, playing a key part in keeping water consumption down. Our sewerage system functions satisfactorily.
But the Kapiti drainage system has not kept up with population growth and will struggle in a huge storm event. The spending of huge amounts of money will not solve the problem as our community lives on large areas former swampland, too close to the sea and rivers. And many people live only a few metres above sea level.
CONCLUSION—KCDC scores 4.5 out of 10
The sun is now ticking back north—make the most of its heat while it lasts.
Here in Kapiti, KCDC needs to lift its game, especially in these areas:
openness and transparency; economic development; and our huge debt.